Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lay off Laxman

I've been waking up to The Great Indian Batting Nightmare for pretty much every mach day these past 20 days. Today, I woke up wanting to tear my TOI to little bits and burn it along with the paal pongal. I haven't bothered learning the name of the reporter - not worth those 3 seconds.

They've torn apart VVS. These callow pen wielders who couldn't put a barn wall to a Wasim Akram delivery are analyzing his technique, questioning his commitment, and suggesting demanding his exit from the team, the tour, and Indian cricket. This to a man who, since Jan 2010, averages 94 in 9 matches India have won, and over 50 runs/innings in 24 matches played in the same time period. And he scored a match-winning 176* two months ago. A man who has played so many memorable innings deserves to decide when he becomes just a memory.

I hate drawing comparisons, but the press may be better served looking at the stats of India's most celebrated opener, who has kept young blood like Rahane and Mukund out of the team. Sehwag's last meaningful contribution outside the subcontinent was a 151 against this opposition at Adelaide in....January 2008. 4 years ago. Including that knock, he averages just 31 outside the Indian subcontinent.

And what about El Capitan? The Man Who Won The World Cup With a Six. India's favorite success story. He averages 30.2 against A-list oppositions away from home. And he is an atrocious captain in the longer format, recognized for his failings by folks who know a couple of things about leading a side -  like Ian Chappell and Wasim Akram.

Both these undroppables get a free pass into the Test team because of their performance in the shorter formats; one with the bat (quite magnificent, with 7 centuries and an average touching 49), and the other with his captaincy and his average-bulking not-outs. VVS doesn't play the shorter format, and is remembered only for his Test appearances. He doesn't fuel hysteria like a meaningless ODI 200 against pedestrian bowling on flat tracks does, poor sod. For a man with precious few sound-bites, it's his distance from the public eye that is becoming his noose.

He's the youngest of the "creaking terminators", and has the technique, temperament, and big-game hunger to make a serious come back at Adelaide. Much like Ponting, Hussey, and Rahul Dravid have done at various points over the last year. And even if he doesn't, remember his sterling service to Indian cricket over the past decade, and give him the chance to call time on his career.

1 comment:

dagalti said...

This is to mention nothing about Bridgetown. We drew the match and thus won the series ONLY because of Laxman. Else we'd've returned empty handed even against in that tour.